Fishing Boat Research/Shopping

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
709
Location
Washington
Ok, been fishing all my life (fresh water lakes, streams and some puget sound open water). I am at a point I never thought I would be. I HAVE THE BOAT BUG! I have always had friends with boats, rented small (12') aluminum boats at some of the resorts and slapped my own trolling motor on them. Im not a "big water" fishing guy (it's just ok for me and I have friends with boats that can handle big water and I can go out with anytime). I am looking for a 16-17ft Aluminum fishing boat with 90% lake fishing and NW travel/destination use. Surely does not need to be a speed demon either. I have been retired now for 5 years, my small business currently runs itself pretty much and Im looking to fill my springs/early summers with lake destinations and the occasional early or late season runs on the Columbia for the rest of my days. I have always been a "By once, cry once" kind of toy shopper. This doesn't mean I am not a cheapskate because I am and always looking to get the best deal. Always looking for the biggest bang for the buck. I don't finance toys and am looking in the 25K and under price range. This is gonna be a boat that will spend the next 20 years with me, be towed 99% of the time, does not need to be a speed deamon and has to be versatile enough for small and large lake fishing with the occasional Columbia river trip.

I should state that 17.5' is my max length as I have storage constraints and frankly it doesn't need to be any bigger for a lake boat that will fish two anglers, max 3 at times. Trout, Kokanee, Bass, Perch, Tigers 90% of the time in NW lakes ranging from 150 acres to over 1000 acres.



My current list of boats are:

Looking for some experienced folks on their opinions/recommendations. Things to consider, tips, other boats I should consider?

1)Smoker Craft Osprey
2)Crestliner Vision 1600 WT
3)Lund Angler 1650
4)Lowe 1625 WT
 
Last edited:

TheTone

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
3,629
Location
ID
Prices right now, as with many fun/recreational items, are absolutely silly. Used boats around me are selling for way more than they did a year or two ago. I’m really looking forward to a couple years from now when a bunch of impulse buyers decide to sell the boat they bought
 

Salmonchaser

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
697
So I don’t know Crest liner or Smoker Craft. I have six Lowe’s however. Damn things are damn near unsinkable. We provide these to our guests so they can fish on their own after a day of guiding. Highly abused but hell they’ve been around for 20 years
 

Sawtooth

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
1,662
Location
Idaho
A lot will depend on what type of fishing you plan on doing the most. I have a Crestliner Serenity (17.5 ft.) and it is a great boat, but for trolling, a helm forward design is a much more efficient design. For warm water fishing, where casting from the bow is done, my Crestliner is great. It is designed to be a fish and ski type boat and is great for what it is designed for. But for strictly trolling, there is a lot of wasted space in the bow. For trolling, I would look at a North River, Hewes, Thunder Jet, or other helm forward boat. But like The Tone stated above most of these will be out of your price range unless they are older or pretty beat up.
IMG_20210327_111434018_HDR.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: JLS

Gellar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
2,098
Location
The Driftless Area
You won’t go wrong with any of those but as some have said you won’t be disappointed with a little bit bigger boat like a 1750 or 1850 that can support a 90 or a 115 horse motor.
 

Salmonchaser

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
697
I own 17 boats, no replacement for displacement. If you can squeeze another foot out of your budget you won’t regret it.
 

cwitherow

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2017
Messages
230
Location
MN
I currently have an Alumacraft Escape 165, and am looking hard at upgrading to the Voyageur sport.
 

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
709
Location
Washington
I suggest a Lund Alaskan, 18' with side steer, 90 hp Yamaha. Put it on a roller bunk trailer - you'll be able to launch it anywhere.
I don't mind a side steer single console boat but when it comes to wind/cold or just rainy weather in early season or late season (of which I will occasionally use the boat) I really need a boat that has a full console and a way to enclose the cab. Even if it's just once or twice a year and maybe not even that (I have good friends with 24' Trophy and another with a Grady White). Most often I go with them crabbing or big water fishing for salmon or link cod). So I have a very specific niche I need to fill but it's a niche where my fishing takes me often and I find myself 90% of the time (small fresh water lakes for trout kokanee and bass).

Many have commented on stepping up in size to 18ft or so and I do hear you all as I have been told by friends who own boats the same thing. Many of who are consistently hauling 4 anglers, kids or family members. I have limited space for storing the boat (18' would be a serious stretch) and 95% of the time it will be my wife and I or a good friend and myself. At most I will have 3 people on rare occasion in the boat (at times solo). The boat will strictly be used for fishing freshwater lakes and the occasional Columbia river.

@TheTone is absolutely right about prices right now and I am in no big hurry to jump into this. I am not one to leap without thought or practicality. At the soonest I will have a new boat for next spring. Im kicking the tires very hard right now and trying to gather as much info as I can. I have rented small boats for years, haul my little trolling motor around with me and have plans to continue until I find what I am looking for (Im headed to E Washington next week looking for Koke's and Tigers).:cool: 12 days of relaxation, soaking up sun, fish fries and sipping Pendleton around a campfire.
 
Last edited:

Steelsearchin

Active member
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
263
Location
Kzoo, MI
Love my 18' alaskan sc!! Had to look for a year to find one with a 90 yammie, but it was worth it. I do a ton of early coho and late season walleye fishing with it and just wear ice fishing gear. I don't have a roller trailer, but can launch it on gravel without issue. I can chase ducks, gills in skinny water, or run 10 rods for kings (12 rods for eyes once when it was slow!). It drags the kids around on a tube just fine, and pulls my wife when she wants to ski. Its the best and worst of all worlds for a trailerable tin boat.

Tough year to find a deal on a boat. Good luck!!
 

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
709
Location
Washington
A lot will depend on what type of fishing you plan on doing the most. I have a Crestliner Serenity (17.5 ft.) and it is a great boat, but for trolling, a helm forward design is a much more efficient design. For warm water fishing, where casting from the bow is done, my Crestliner is great. It is designed to be a fish and ski type boat and is great for what it is designed for. But for strictly trolling, there is a lot of wasted space in the bow. For trolling, I would look at a North River, Hewes, Thunder Jet, or other helm forward boat. But like The Tone stated above most of these will be out of your price range unless they are older or pretty beat up.
Your boat would be a prime example of what I am looking for. As stated. Im not looking to brake the bank although the boats you have mentioned are nice boats for sure. I would surely get by with a 16.5 17ft boat with a WT windshield and the ability to enclose the cab and or a Bimini top.
 

brnsvllyjohn

Active member
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
318
Location
California (for now)
I own an 18.5' Crestliner very similar to the one in Sawtooth's photo. I started out trying to purchase a 17.5' Lund or Crestliner but someone pointed out that the length of the trailer determines how long the overall combo is. In my case the 17.5 and the 18.5 use the same trailer so it was the same length from the back of the engine to the fold away tongue. I do appreciate the longer boat.
My windshield is set back and I bass fish a lot from the front deck. When I troll for trout if I run 4 rods 2 of those rods are in rod holders on the front deck. I really like seeing the rods in front of me and not always having to look back. The front rods tend to be 8-10' long and that gives me a decent spread when top lining. I use 7-9' rods out the back and on my downriggers. My downriggers (3) are mounted more towards the back.
I would not consider my hull a good rough water ocean boat but it is fine in Lake Shasta or Oroville. My 17' Sea Nymph was a better ocean boat. Length is not the most important thing for the ocean.
I would look at the hull design and get a deeper V than mine if you think you are likely to ever use it in rougher water. My hull is a Fish Hawk and it is not as deep as some others and way too flat of a bottom for the ocean IMHO. I am not familiar with the hull design on the boats you have listed but you could compare them to the specs on my Fish Hawk to determine if they are more suitable for the ocean than my hull. If you are only going to fish the open ocean in your friend's boats then no big deal.
As far as the quality of the Crestliner goes I have no issues for what it is. It is not a heavy gauge boat like a Hewes Craft, North River or lots of other brands built in the North West. It will however last me another 15 years and I bought it new in 2007.
 
Last edited:

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
709
Location
Washington
I own an 18.5' Crestliner very similar to the one in Sawtooth's photo. I started out trying to purchase a 17.5' Lund or Crestliner but someone pointed out that the length of the trailer determines how long the overall combo is. In my case the 17.5 and the 18.5 use the same trailer so it was the same length from the back of the engine to the fold away tongue. I do appreciate the longer boat.
This is very good to know. Your comments are the sort of thing I am looking for and will help in my kicking of the tires adventure.
 

brnsvllyjohn

Active member
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
318
Location
California (for now)
I just measured my boat and trailer. With the tongue folded in it is 21' 5" from the back of the motor to the front of the trailer. The motor is trimmed down so the skeg is about 3 inches off the floor. My garage is 24' deep outside measurement. The prop is 8 inches from the sheetrock wall and the tongue is 24" from the door. I have the boat at a slight angle so it takes up about the same space as 1.5 cars would.
My wife has never had a spot in the garage for a car. When we got married well over 40 years ago my garage had a boat in it then and things have not changed in all those years. Some wives will not tolerate that but mine does.
 

ntodwild

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
709
Location
Washington
I just measured my boat and trailer. With the tongue folded in it is 21' 5" from the back of the motor to the front of the trailer. The motor is trimmed down so the skeg is about 3 inches off the floor. My garage is 24' deep outside measurement. The prop is 8 inches from the sheetrock wall and the tongue is 24" from the door. I have the boat at a slight angle so it takes up about the same space as 1.5 cars would.
My wife has never had a spot in the garage for a car. When we got married well over 40 years ago my garage had a boat in it then and things have not changed in all those years. Some wives will not tolerate that but mine does.
Absolutely the kind of info I need. It's nice to have people pipe in with the simple comments "get one of these" or " "get one of those" and I appreciate it but that doesn't help me make a decision.

Thanks for taking the time to actually do that.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
95,375
Messages
1,433,616
Members
29,931
Latest member
Mx522xtreme
Top